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Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2014: The winners are…

22 Oct, 2014



The winners of the fourth Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize were announced this evening at a ceremony held at Wellcome Trust HQ in London. With over 600 entries to choose from, picking a single winner in each category was no simple task…

IMG_0959“Communicating with the public in getting their insight into the work you do can help inform your research questions,” says Wellcome Trust Director Jeremy Farrar. That’s one of the reasons it is so important for us to nurture the next generation of science writers and encourage scientists to think about ways of communicating their work.

The Wellcome Trust science writing prize, run in conjunction with the Guardian and the Observer, is an opportunity for aspiring science communicators to write about research that inspires them, and we’re always delighted with the high quality and number of entries that we receive.

Split into two categories – professional scientists (postgraduate and above) and non-professionals (including undergraduates) – the entries are read by over 40 representatives from the Wellcome Trust, the Guardian and the Observer before a final shortlist is selected by a judging panel, this year headed up by materials scientist and broadcaster Mark Miodownik.

Competition is stiff, so we congratulate all of those who earned a place on the shortlist. Pushed to make a decision, after a passionate, four hour long meeting, the judges picked Richard Stephens and Kate Széll as this year’s winners.
SWP2014 winners

Richard’s piece on smiling – ‘Don’t say cheese, say cheeks’ – earned him the crown (okay, trophy!) in the professional scientists category, while Kate’s article on facial blindness ‘Prosopagnosia – a common problem, commonly overlooked’ the winner of the non-professional and undergraduate category. Commenting on Kate’s piece, Presenter Mark Miodownik said that the judges were amazed it could be true. “We were quite bamboozled by it, but we fact checked it all and it checked out” he said.

Both winners were presented with prize money of £1,000 and their articles will appear in full in the Guardian/the Observer and on the Wellcome Trust blog in the coming weeks.


Science and health stories are on the front pages on a daily basis with the continuing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and there is a continuing need for people who are able to accurately and engagingly explain scientific issues. We hope that the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize, schemes such as the Wellcome/New Statesman Scholarship and the science journalism funding we offer will help to develop the next generation of science journalists and communicators. For tips on how to start a science blog, how to avoid common mistakes in science writing, and even how to pitch to an editor, check out our science writing ‘How to’ guides on the blog.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 23 Oct, 2014 12:54 pm

    Reblogged this on Helen Louise Williams and commented:
    A colleague (and friend) Richard Stephens from Keele School of Psychology just won the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2014 – well done Richard! His winning piece “Don’t say cheese, say cheeks” will appear in full in the Guardian/the Observer and on the Wellcome Trust blog in the coming weeks

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